USA economy gains 313000 jobs in February

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In the strongest showing since July 2016, the unemployment rate in the United States remained low in February as US employers added 313,000 jobs to the economy. Construction businesses added 61,000 jobs, while factories boosted payrolls by 31,000.

The American economy added 313,000 jobs, the most in 20 months, according to the Department of Labor.

"The gain in average hourly earnings of 2.6 percent over the past year is less-than-stellar for workers, but also helps to calm inflation fears", Mark Hamrick, Bankrate.com's senior economic analyst, said in an email.

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Wages increased just 0.1 percent month-over-month in February, missing the consensus target of 0.2 percent. Average hourly earnings had been expected to increase 0.2 percent in February.

The unemployment rate was unchanged at a 17-year low of 4.1 per cent in February for a fifth straight month as 806,000 people entered the labour force in a sign of confidence in the job market. Year-over-year, the increase was 68 cents, a 2.6 percent increase. Economists expect the unemployment rate to drop to 3.5 percent this year. Investors seem to believe the February numbers will keep the Fed on track to raise interest rates slowly and steadily. As more Americans work or put in job applications, it improves the productive capacity of the economy.

Government employment increased by 26,000 jobs last month, with teacher hiring by local governments accounting for the bulk of the rise. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 273 points to 25,169; the S&P 500 was up 1 percent at 2,769. "Three percent wage inflation and 3% on the 10-year would be a bad combo for stocks", says Paulsen. That will present some problems for employers looking to hire, because these people need to first be lured back into the job market, and many of them haven't worked for awhile. Over the year, employment and unemployment were down by 4,000 and 28,000, respectively. Retailers added 50,000, the most in two years.

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There are 39 pages in the Labor Department's February report on the employment situation in the United States, but they can be summed up in four words: The economy is humming. In addition, the labor force participation rate ticked up from 62.7 percent to 63.0 percent, matching the rate seen in September, which was the best since November 2013.

Job growth has been consistently strong.

Of particular concern was wage growth, which had accelerated in recent months, leading to worries over the prospect of quicker monetary tightening from the Federal Reserve.

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The average workweek for production and non-supervisory employees on private non-farm payrolls increased by 0.2 hour to 33.8 hours.

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